From its humble beginnings as a rolling food store in 1936 to its present status as an iconic restaurant, the Aristocrat continues to gain prominence not only with the tasty Filipino dishes it offers but also to its contribution to history.
With its 77 years of history in the restaurant industry, Aristocrat was recently recognized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and was awarded a Historical Marker which was unveiled last Thursday, July 4, 2013, at the front of its restaurant in Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
The marker states a brief history of how restaurant started, with Engracia Cruz-Reyes or fondly called as Aling Asiang as the founder started a snack store named The Admiral Dewey and later became The Aristocrat diner featuring favorite Filipino dishes.
“Napakaprominente ng Aristocrat bilang isang restaurant kaya po hindi na nagdalawang isip ang lupon ng Komisyong Pangkasaysayan na igawad ang panandang pangkasaysayan dito sa Aristocrat,” Maria Serena Diokno, NHCP Chairperson told reporters. (“Aristocrat has been very prominent as a restaurant that is why the Historical Commission did not hesitate to grant the historical marker to them.”)
“Kung kilala po ninyo ang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan baka magtaka kayo na medyo naiiba itong panandang ito kasi kadalasan, ang ating pinararangalan ay mga bayani, actually, mga pangyayaring pampulitika, ngunit alam naman natin na ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ay hindi lamang sa larangan ng pulitika. Mahalangang mahalaga po ang tinatawag nating social history o kasaysayang panlipunan at bahagi ng kasaysayang panlipunan ng Pilipinas ang Aristocrat Restaurant. Mula sa isang simpleng tindahan, ito ay naging isang prominente at matatag na restaurant , nakilala ito dahil sa kakaibang pagkaing pinoy na sumasalamin sa ating napakayamang kultura,” she also said.
(“If you are familiar with the Historical Commission, you might wonder that this marker is quite different because oftentimes, we recognize heroes, actually, historical events but we all know that Philippine history is not only in the field of politics. Social history is very important and Aristocrat Restaurant is an important part of social history. From a simple store, it has become a prominent and stable restaurant; it became known for the unique Filipino food that reflects our rich culture.”)
According to Diokno, it takes a lot of research before an institution can be declared as something of historical significance. It is determined in terms of whether the person, event, site or structure led to or resulted in profound changes in the lives of the community, the country, or a considerable segment of our population; If the changes are durable or lasting; Whether and how much the event, person, site or structure reveals something meaningful or important about our past; and, Whether the event, person, site or structure resonates or concerns us to this day.
Meanwhile, Priscila Reyes-Pacheco, Aristocrat Restaurant president and a third generation of the Reyes family, expressed gratitude for the privilege received by the family’s business.
“The Reyes family accepts with great pride and honorth e historical marker awarded by NHCP on the Aristocrat restaurant. The Aristocrat has served the general public regardless of social status in life,” Reyes-Pacheco also said.
Apart from the unveiling of the historical marker, aristocrat also held a blessing of Justice Alex Reyes Sala—a small room located in the diner containing photographs telling the story of the Reyes family and of the restaurant as well.
Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Alex Reyes is Engracia Cruz- Reyes’ husband and also a founder of the restaurant.
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